Accident Eurocopter EC145 N455MH, Tuesday 24 July 2012
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Date:Tuesday 24 July 2012
Time:05:08 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC45 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter EC145
Owner/operator:Memorial Hermann Hospital System
Registration: N455MH
MSN: 9161
Year of manufacture:2008
Total airframe hrs:2305 hours
Engine model:Turbomeca ARRIEL 1E2
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Houston, Texas -   United States of America
Phase: Standing
Departure airport:Katy, TX
Destination airport:Houston, TX (38TE)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The emergency medical services helicopter was about 800 feet above ground level and landing at a rooftop hospital helipad in a congested metropolitan area when the left side engine cowling opened. The cowling partially separated and impacted the bottom of all four main rotor blades, resulting in substantial damage to the rotor blades. The pilot described the event as a brief shudder, like flying through the rotor wash of another helicopter. The pilot was unaware that any damage had occurred and landed uneventfully. A third medical crewmember boarded through the right rear door for a local flight to a suburban hospital. During engine shutdown at their destination, another medical crewmember exited the helicopter on the left side and was the first to notice the damage. The pilot stated that he failed to complete a thorough preflight inspection before the accident flight, because the crew was assigned a medical mission just after their shift started. The previous pilot, who flew the helicopter the evening before the accident, stated that he had opened the left side engine cowling to check the oil level and became distracted. He also stated that he could not remember if he had secured the cowling latches.

Probable Cause: The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which failed to detect the unsecured cowling latches and resulted in the in-flight opening of an engine cowling.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CEN12CA474
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

04-Oct-2022 11:59 ASN Update Bot Added

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